Facilitated by widespread grass-roots activity on the one hand and a favourable EU-level policy climate on the other, the teaching and learning of some school subjects through the medium of a foreign language (most frequently English) has experienced considerable spread in European educations systems since the 1990s. One might even say it has become an established niche in the mainstream. While local labels vary greatly (as do the exact practices), the name Content-and-Language-Integrated-Learning (CLIL) has established itself as an international umbrella term. Meanwhile, interest in this type of educational provision has also been growing in other parts of the world notably Latin America and South-East Asia. Links with related North American initiatives have also intensified in recent years. Since CLIL practice cuts across many apparent certainties that are deeply ingrained in education systems, such as the identity and responsibilities of individual subjects and those who teach them, CLIL has evoked a keen demand for guidance. The book market has responded to the demand with a number of publications that vary in their mix of practical, programmatic and conceptual content (Deller and Price 2007; Mehisto, Marsh and Frigols 2008; Coyle, Hood, and Marsh 2010; Dale and Tanner 2012; Llinares, Morton, and Whittaker 2012). The authors of the present book have been active as consultants, teacher trainers and materials writers in this arena in different contexts. The publication under review is more comprehensive in its conception than any of its forerunners, in keeping with its being part of a handbook series. A handbook is expected to contain information, useful theory, conceptualizations and guidelines that will support the reader in handling a wide range of challenges arising from the issue they are concerned with. The ten chapters of this book are set up to offer just that: general conceptual foundations, principles and illustrations of good pedagogical practice in the CLIL classroom, materials design, assessment. The latter two, in particular, are big issues that CLIL practitioners often have to tackle on their own. The two final chapters front the fact (to use a term popular with the authors) that quality CLIL provision must be anchored in proper school-level management and proper teacher preparation. Chapter 1, ‘What Is CLIL?’, manages to cut through recent debates on what CLIL is or is not (Cenoz, Genesee, and Gorter 2014; Dalton-Puffer, Llinares, Lorenzo and Nikula, 2014), establishing very clearly what Ball, Kelly, and Clegg mean, or rather do not mean, when they talk about CLIL. The chapter systematically relates CLIL to similar but different constellations, such as minority education, immersion education, maintenance bilingual education, or English as a medium of instruction in developing countries. Then the discussion turns to 11 ‘criteria for success in CLIL’, among which socioeconomic status and selection is rightly given some argumentative prominence. After viewing CLIL on the programme level in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 sets out to characterize CLIL as a teaching methodology and introduces ten defining parameters or ‘features that mark out the territory’ (p. 32). I may be overcritical on this issue because I do not agree that CLIL is a teaching methodology, but in any case at the end of the chapter, I was at a loss on what I had learned about these defining parameters. The chapter summary was of no help when it said: ‘We have suggested that CLIL encompasses a certain set of practices, and that the methods constituting this set of practices best characterize its parameters’ (p. 47). Incidentally, at the end of their ‘Personal note from the authors’ available on the book’s website, Ball, Clegg, and Kelly seem to abandon the ‘CLIL is a teaching methodology’-position when they say ‘if it is true, as we believe, that CLIL is just good practice, then when good practice finally prevails the acronym will quietly disappear’. Chapter 3, ‘The Language–Content Relationship’, on the other hand, does make a clear point and successfully moves the frontier forward with regard to theorizing the notion of ‘content’ in CLIL. As a rule, the language specialist authors of international CLIL publications tend to have a somewhat undertheorized notion on this account. The present authors put forward a generic conceptualization of the ‘language–content relationship’ that is three-dimensional (concepts–procedures–language) instead of dichotomous. I would regard this as the ‘big idea’ of this book, a conceptualization that also stands the test in later chapters. The mixing-desk metaphor to which the new concept is linked brings home the point that all three aspects of content are co-present at all times and pedagogical planning can tune one or the other up or down at different stages in a didactic sequence. Chapter 4, ‘Principle and Practice of Language in CLIL’, aims to ‘equip teachers with a foundation for understanding language’ (p. 71). It manages to do just that and this is clearly an achievement in just under 40 pages. Different layers of language (subject-specific, general academic and peripheral/regulative) are identified and described with clear examples. Then seven types of teacher support for students are explained and illustrated. Contrary to their earlier appearance in Chapter 3, Cummins’s ‘context vs. cognitive demand matrix’ as well as his notions of BICS and CALP seemed organic and truly explanatory in the context of this chapter. Chapter 5 elaborates on how teachers can guide learners through the demands of lesson input. After discussing general issues, such as the role of schemata, authenticity and (graphic) shapes of subject content (why in this order?), the chapter presents an inventory of activity-types that usefully support learners in processing lesson input. The activity types are grouped as operating on the level of words and phrases (11 types) vs. on the level of ‘whole texts’ (6 types), whereby the latter really are about analysing the conceptual structures of content areas rather than texts in the physical sense. This criticism aside, each activity type is clearly explained and there are ample illustrations from teaching materials. Chapter 6, ‘Supporting Output’, goes by the tenet that new knowledge is assimilated better if it is expressed in the learner’s own words. Its general structure parallels that of the previous chapter, introducing an array of support strategies and illustrating them with almost 30 examples from science or history materials, progressing from speaking to writing support. Figure 6.1 offers a welcome visualization of how different types of language support can reinforce each other. As in the previous and the following chapter, the authors visibly draw on their wide experience in CLIL consultancy and teacher preparation. Chapter 7 then turns to materials design, an activity that is rarely expected from teachers at large, but which is a regular fact of CLIL teachers’ lives in very many contexts. While being realistic about teachers’ time-resources, the authors make a point of encouraging teachers to make the experience of using self-designed materials. For this purpose, they present seven design principles as basic strategies for tackling the production or adaptation of materials. The principles cohere well with the activity types introduced in the two preceding chapters and their explanation is illustrated with 20 materials extracts. The issue of assessment is treated in Chapter 8 and numerous facets of this important and problematic topic are discussed, making this the most complete treatment of assessment in CLIL to date. The authors also make it clear that they regard content to be in the foreground in the assessment process, with language serving as a vehicle for the demonstration of knowledge and competences. Their three-dimensional model is put to good use in evaluating the conceptual, procedural and linguistic demands of concrete exam questions. Chapter 9 unfolds the intricacies of ‘Managing CLIL in Schools’, such as choice of subjects, teachers and programme structure, communication with stakeholders, resourcing and monitoring. Dedicating a whole chapter to it gives this important aspect of successful CLIL provision the salience it deserves, especially in view of the grass-roots character of much CLIL activity, with system-wide regulatory moves still missing in many countries. Inextricably linked with programme-management questions of staffing and pedagogy is the question of teacher preparation, which is discussed in Chapter 10. Here the authors take a clear stand against separating teachers’ language development from methodology training as they regard these two aspects to be in immediate trade-off. Interspersed with big questions on the future of teaching and learning, this chapter discusses core CLIL teacher competences and surveys already existing examples of training courses. Each chapter is followed by a selection of further readings with a short indication of why the authors think they are recommendable. There are also several additional features: an appendix with tasks that prompt readers to interact with the material presented in the respective chapter and/or relate it to their own context. There is a useful and comprehensive glossary of terms. The accompanying website (www.oup.com/elt/teacher/clil) features a personal note from the authors, discussion questions for each chapter (some of them inviting users to critically examine notions and claims introduced in the book) and a nice collection of web-links, many of which offer visual input complementing the book’s text. All this will be welcome to teacher educators as supplementary material for in-class use. Like all Oxford Handbooks for Language Teachers, the book is directed at practising teachers, teacher trainers and MA-level students—in language (see back cover). The problem is that a book on CLIL would miss its point entirely if it did not address content-subject educators as well. The authors have embraced the challenge, but the multiple focus forces them to meander somewhat between addressing the mindsets and interests of language experts and content experts (‘soft CLIL’ and ‘hard CLIL’ serve as shorthand for distinguishing between the two), leading to repetitions and inconsistencies that become cumbersome if one reads the book in one piece. Not all of these textual problems can be put down to the complexity of the topic though. More careful editing on the part of the publisher could have tightened the narrative of one or the other chapter. In sum, this substantial volume offers a vast array of ideas, activities and checklists on all aspects of CLIL that bear witness to the authors’ concern with conceptual foundations as well as their creativity and experience as CLIL consultants and language-teaching experts. Without doubt, this book is an important contribution to the advancement of teaching methodology in CLIL and will help spread the word about good pedagogy in CLIL contexts around the world. Hopefully the publisher’s decision to place the book in a language-teaching series will not hamper its reception among CLIL practitioners who are not language educators. Christiane Dalton-Puffer is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Vienna. She has in the past undertaken research on medieval English, but today both her teaching and research interests are in educational linguistics and language teacher education. She is the author of Discourse in CLIL Classrooms (Benjamins, 2007) and numerous articles in international journals. Together with Tarja Nikula and Ute Smit she founded the AILA Research Network (ReN) CLIL and Immersion Education. She enjoys crossing disciplinary borders and collaborating with colleagues from other fields of education. One of her missions is to convince subject educators of the relevance of language to learning. References Cenoz, J., Genesee, F., and Gorter D.. 2014. ‘ Critical analysis of CLIL: Taking stock and looking forward’. Applied Linguistics 35/ 3: 243– 62. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Coyle, D., Hood, P., and Marsh D.. 2010. CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dale, L. and Tanner, R. 2012. CLIL Activities with CD-ROM: A Resource for Subject and Language Teachers . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dalton-Puffer, C., Llinares A., Lorenzo, F., and Nikula T.. 2014. ‘ “You can stand under my umbrella”: Immersion, CLIL and bilingual education. A response to Cenoz, Genesee & Gorter (2014)’. Applied Linguistics 35( 2): 213– 218. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Deller, S. and Price C.. 2007. Teaching other Subjects through English (Resource Books for Teachers) . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Llinares, A., Morton, T., and Whittaker R.. 2012. The Roles of Language in CLIL . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mehisto, P., Marsh, D., and Frigols M.J.. 2008. Uncovering CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning in Bilingual and Multilingual Education . Oxford: Macmillan. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.
ELT Journal – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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